Why Students Learn More When They Have Fun

Ginelle Testa

Some of the greatest scientific discoveries have come from having fun: think about the Wright brothers tinkering with flight. Fun isn’t regularly a priority in teaching because there are so many other demands, but it can make a big impact on student learning. With having fun, comes engaged learners. 

Why students learn more when they have fun

Sustaining students’ memory, motivation, and attention is challenging, but having fun can make all the difference. 

  • Memory - Dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter, is released when having fun. Did you know that dopamine release leads to memory stimulation?

  • Motivation - According to research, games can motivate students to take risks. Students that have fun are more motivated to engage with the teachings. 

  • Attention - It’s easier to pay attention when students are having fun! Give them a reason to be present. A study showed that gamification especially helps neurodivergent students.

Try engaging your students through gamified learning or another way to have fun in the classroom and watch the results. 

Having fun in the Colegio Nazaret Classroom

Making learning fun is familiar to Guillermo Francisco Rivero at Colegio Nazaret, a state-subsidized secondary school in Extremadura, Spain. His students implemented Labster virtual science learning labs. “The students achieved significant learning results without being aware that they are studying - by playing, having fun, solving tasks at their own pace,” described Guillermo. “Using Labster in my teaching is also fun for me - the teacher,” he followed. 

Having fun enhances motivation and learning outcomes. According to the surveys carried out by Colegio Nazaret with their students, using Labster simulations positively affected the students’ attitudes, perceptions, and motivation towards science subjects and lab work.

Gamified Learning - One Way to Enjoy Class

Research shows that when fun is involved, the students are involved, too. A study was done at two biology classes at Archbishop Williams High School (Braintree, MA, USA) and in an introductory college-level life science course at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). Students used Labster simulations for a crime-scene lab and the outcome was:

  • 97% of 149 students found it interesting to use the simulation

  • 86% indicated that the laboratory simulation was more interesting compared with ordinary exercises

  • 97% felt that the course content was more interesting when working with gamified simulations

Student data

This same research study found that “Gamified laboratory simulations motivate students and improve learning outcomes compared with traditional teaching methods.”

Virtual labs offer gamified learning, which can provide that extra layer of fun that engages students further in science. One study about the impact of gamification on students’ learning, engagement, and behavior found that those who used gamified learning had a higher average of points, badges, and logins as well as more accuracy compared to students who did not use gamified learning. 

student success gamified learning

About Labster

Labster offers interactive, 3D virtual science labs that help students visualize theory, access state-of-the-art lab environments, and take their learning beyond the classroom, from the quantum realm to the surface of Mars. Expand your curriculum, target learning needs, and foster content mastery to prepare the next generation of scientists. 

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